Earlier this month, Phil Halhead attended the launch of a world-leading research facility that will provide unprecedented insights into livestock and human health.
The University of Edinburgh’s Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility (LARIF) was officially opened by Professor John Loughhead CB, OBE, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The LARIF will enhance both food security and the health and welfare of farmed animals through research aimed at producing livestock that are genetically more resistant to disease and by the development of improved vaccines.
Research will additionally safeguard human health by helping to tackle food-borne infections and developing strategies against antimicrobial resistance.
Development of this purpose-built facility is supported by a £25 million investment from the University of Edinburgh and CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock), which includes £10.6m of funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency.
The LARIF houses an unparalleled combination of imaging, surgical, gene-editing and infection containment facilities, offering exceptional specialist capability for in-depth studies into the health and wellbeing of all major farmed livestock.
Also housed at the LARIF is the Wellcome Trust-funded Critical Care Laboratory for Large Animals, which supports the study of large animal biology with all the resources of a human hospital. Highly skilled vets, who are European and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons-recognised specialists in veterinary anaesthesia, provide round-the-clock care for animals involved in studies.
Advanced medical imaging equipment on site, including CT, MRI, fluoroscopy and ultrasound, enables detailed understanding of anatomy and body composition in livestock, as well as monitoring progression of disease processes in different organs, and their response to treatment.
This new facility is based at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies’ Easter Bush Campus, alongside the prestigious Roslin Institute and wider CIEL-partnered livestock investments. Collectively, the Campus represents the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe.